“It is an unhappy coincidence that I belong to that party (DMK)”

Former Telecom Minister A. Raja, an accused in a 2G scam-related money laundering case, on Thursday told a special court that he was not involved in the Rs. 200-crore transaction, which as per the Enforcement Directorate was a bribe given to Kalaignar TV by the DB Group.

Arguing on the bail application filed by Mr. Raja as well as on framing of charges in the case, advocate Manu Sharma, who appeared for him, said the DMK leader was earlier granted bail in the 2G spectrum allocation case and he has been attending court proceedings keeping aside his political commitments.

“I (Mr. Raja) am facing trial in a separate case in the 2G spectrum allocation case. I was granted bail in that case and my conduct has been good and I am attending court proceedings by putting my political commitments on the back burner,” Mr. Raja’s told Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini through his counsel.

His counsel also contended that there was no evidence in the case and it was a “mere coincidence” that he was a member of the DMK and his party had planned to start Kalaignar TV.

“How the prosecution (the ED) can say that I have knowledge of transaction taking place back and forth. How do I know this transaction. How am I actually involved,” he said, adding, “It is an unhappy coincidence that I belong to that party (DMK).”

The ED had filed a charge sheet against 19 accused, including Mr. Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, claiming that the transaction of Rs. 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV, “was not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

During the hearing, Mr. Raja’s counsel argued that his client has been allowed to depose as a witness to defend himself in the CBI case and if he would be taken into custody, “the whole process of being examined as defence witness will be disrupted”.

During the proceedings, the court also heard arguments advanced by the lawyers representing some of the co-accused in the case.

After the arguments advanced by defence counsel on bail pleas filed by the accused and framing of charges, special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit told the judge that he would respond to the arguments on the bail applications first.

Mr. Lalit’s arguments, during which he advanced submissions regarding some of the legal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), remained inconclusive and would continue on Friday.

The ED had chargesheeted 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine firms — in the case.

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